CCGs are collectible card games (aka trading card games or TCGs), such as Magic: the Gathering and Pokemon.


Hot Jobs

To support its fast-growing catalog, Renegade Game Studios seeks a Localization Coordinator (in Europe, to support European partners), a Marketing Coordinator (in North America, to support brand-building and social media), and a Game Producer (in San Diego, to push the development of new products).

In addition to a number of jobs related to its digital products and a few art-related positions (contract and in-house), Wizards of the Coast is recruiting for a Principal Product Designer. This job involves overseeing R&D design for Magic: The Gathering. Responsibilities include managing all aspect of a MtG block, contributing to strategic development and decision-making, and otherwise supporting the MtG brand.

Two positions are open at Paizo. One is for a Game Developer “to take responsibility for the creation, revision, and editing of content for… the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder, and associated product lines.” The other is for a Customer Service Representative to answer inquiries and troubleshoot problems.

Pelgrane Press has an opening for an Administrative Assistant but it’s no mere secretarial position. The job involves working with directly with customers, online and in-person, as well as managing supply-chain issues such as print buying and tracking warehouse inventories. Pelgrane is headquartered in the U.K. but remote work is OK. The work is estimated at 25 hours per week for a salary of US$1,500 per month (about $14/hr, no benefits).

Games for Change (G4C), the organization that promotes driving real-world change using games, has three openings: Senior Director (an executive leadership position), Community Manager (a part-time but front-line, point-of-contact between G4C and the whole range of its stakeholders), and Operations Manager (also part-time, and responsible for office and financial management, and maintaining institutional knowledge). All three are based out of New York City.

Ceaco (Gamewright) is looking for a Stock Room Assistant, part-time in Newton, Massachusetts.

At Lost Battalion Publishing in Upperco, Maryland there are openings for a full-time Graphic Designer and a part-time Game Manufacturing Technician.

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Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with games

Someone pilfered uncut sheets of unreleased Magic: The Gathering cards from the factory and posted them for sale online with images. The alleged thief has been arrested and the card sheets recovered. However, with card images already circulating, Wizards of the Coast has ramped up previews for the Ixalan set.

A 31 year old man from St. Cloud, Minnesota was arrested for stabbing his 20 year old Magic: The Gathering opponent seven times in the neck, and for hitting him in the head with a mallet. The suspect has a previous conviction for possession of explosives with criminal intent.

Cary Young is suing Rob Elliot in Victorian County Court (Australia) over royalties he says are owed for contributing 4,000 trivia questions to the board game Smart Ass. Young is a master at trivia who had a legendary run on the television game show Sale of the Century. Elliot, creator of the board game, was also host of Wheel of Fortune.

James Damore, the Google engineer fired by the company after circulating a memo critical of the company’s diversity policies, claims to hold the Chess rating of FIDE Master but no evidence supporting this has been found or provided.

The National Chess Federation of the Philippines banned player Jomel Sinagula for life “for recidivist cheating and identity theft.” Sinagula adopted various aliases for team competitions in order to position himself against lower ranked players. Several of Sinagula’s teammates were banned for 6 month periods for collaborating with the scheme.

Chess player Fernando Alberto Braga has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport a decision by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) not to grant him the title of Grandmaster. Central to the question of Braga’s qualification is whether a rule change made in 2005 should apply to the counting of games he played in 1992 and whether his brief stint with a 2500+ rating in 1998 took place too long ago to meet the requirement.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq has returned to the Ministry of Culture an antique Chess set formerly owned by Saddam Hussein and stolen in 2003.

At the 2017 Canadian Chess Championship, GM Bator Sambuev and IM Nikolay Noritsyn were in the second blitz game of a tiebreak series to determine the winner, when Noritsyn attempting to promote his passed pawn couldn’t find a spare queen next to the board. So instead, he called out “queen” and replaced the pawn with an upside-down rook (common practice in non-tournament settings). At that point, an arbiter interrupted and ruled the upside-down piece to be a rook, not a queen, noting the presence of a queen there at the side of the board. Later review of video recorded at the tournament, however, revealed that at the time Noritsyn was looking for the queen piece, it was in the hand of his opponent.

Effective July 1 under the FIDE Laws of Chess it became illegal to make a move with two hands (such as when castling or promoting a pawn). Making such a move has the potential to cost a player the game, though in several high-profile games (including the Canadian one mentioned previously), arbiters have failed to intervene over the issue.

A burgler was caught on surveillance video breaking in to a Bronx, New York apartment and stealing board games. Police are looking for help in identifying the culprit.

Recently released government records reveal that in the mid-1990s, conflict and accusations within a San Francisco-area group of Dungeons & Dragons players triggered an investigation by the FBI. Agents were looking for the Unibomber but found just “that the typical war gaming enthusiast is overweight and not neat in appearance.”

Eighteen people were arrested for gambling at cards in Anlong Veng, Cambodia. Police in the village, known for being the last holdout of the Khmer Rouge and final resting place of Pol Pot, took the players back to the station and “educated” them on the dangers of their habit.

A Muslim Cricket player in India suffered harassment online after posting to Facebook a picture of himself playing Chess with his son. The harassers apparently side with the Muslim televangelist in Turkey who said that “playing Chess is worse than gambling and eating pork.” Several Indian Muslim clerics, though, have come to the Cricketer’s defense, saying that there is nothing wrong with playing Chess as long as gambling isn’t involved.

A homeless man was playing Chess in Union Square Park in Manhattan at 3:30 AM when three other men approached and got in to an argument with him, and then one of them stabbed him in the chest.

In Santa Monica, California’s Chess Park, two players were assaulted by a couple of homeless men, who were apparently drunk and raving about some drug dealer. “I bitched to the police about losing our beloved chess park to these roving bands of dangerous homeless, but didn’t see the point in pressing charges given the reality of our legal system.”

Rubik’s Brand Limited is suing in U.S. federal court Duncan Toys and Toys “R” Us for trademark infringement. Rubik’s claims that the appearance of Duncan’s Quick Cube puzzle, sold at Toys “R” Us, copies the trademarked design of the Rubik’s Cube without permission and will cause confusion among consumers. There is no patent claim in the suit.

To fight the counterfeiting of board games, Ad Magic and Breaking Games have started applying 3D photopolymer authentication labels to their products. The labels are produced by De La Rue, a U.K. company, and include parallax images and unique 8 digit serial numbers. The labels can even be authenticated with standard mobile apps.

Reaper Minis was dragged in, or involved itself in (depending on how you look at it), some controversial social-media postings by one of its employees. Ed Pugh, Reaper’s CEO, said that the company was “reviewing the matter and taking appropriate action,” which made other people upset that Reaper felt it should have a stake in what one of its employees said outside of the workplace.

The number of private card rooms in Texas is growing. To avoid anti-gambling laws, instead of taking a stake in the wagers, they collect membership and seat rental fees.

The World Series of Poker has been having a problem with card quality, leading to complaints by many participants about card marking, intentional and unintentional.

Police raiding a Mahjong game at a home in Cape Town, South Africa ended up arresting fourteen people for possession of shark fins and abalone.

New York City Chess school Chess at 3 is suing Hugh Kramer, one of its former instructors, claiming that he violated the terms of his employment contract by taking with him 24 students. The school is asking for $100,000 in damages.

A Chess instructor in Malaysia is facing criminal charges for allegedly groping his young charges. In Mumbai, a Chess coach was arrested for molesting a sister and brother pair of students, 10 and 7 years old. Once in custody, charges were added for beating a student aged five.

The State of Florida finally settled its dispute with the Seminole Tribe over banked card games. Tribal casinos will retain exclusive rights to run card games for another 13 years and the state will get $340 million. To enforce the bargain, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has filed administrative complaints against the Sarasota Kennel Club and Pensacola Greyhound Racing for failing to comply with rules on designated-player games in their Poker rooms.

Cantina, a bar in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was fined for hosting dice games with gambling.

The proprietor of a martial arts gym in Singapore was arrested for renting Mahjong tables and allowing gambling inside his facility.

Police believe that a man who showed up at an Annapolis, Maryland hospital with a gunshot wound had gotten in to an argument at a dice game, took a taxi home to get his gun, then took the same taxi to the hospital after he was wounded. They arrested him on weapons charges, theft, and failing to pay the cabbie.

A man returning to the scene of a dice game argument in Birmingham, Alabama, brought in the car with him a friend and his 4 year old daughter. The friend pulled a gun, so did the person they were going to see, but it was the girl and an elderly woman in another vehicle who ended up shot. The girl later died.

stray bullet originating at a dice game in Louisville, Kentucky struck and killed a 7 year old boy eating a bedtime snack in his home nearby.

The 1 year old hit by three stray bullets from a dice game shootout in Washington, D.C. survived and was, in fact, discharged from the hospital the next day.

Other dice game shootings occurred in Riverdale, Georgia; Phildelphia; Brooklyn; the BronxJacksonville, Florida; Edwardsville, Illinois; again in the Bronx; Baltimore; St. Louis; Detroit; and Shreveport, Louisiana.

A man who shot three people in a Las Vegas home over a game of Dominoes forgot his car keys when he left the scene, then pounded on the door expecting to be let back in.

A man in Hanover, Jamaica was shot and killed while playing Dominoes.

In Stratford, Connecticut, a man pulled a gun on his cousin because he thought he was being cheated at a game of Dominoes.

In High Springs, Florida, a woman shot at her husband while he was playing Dominoes in the park. Why was not revealed.

In Owatonna, Minnesota, a woman was arrested for attacking her boyfriend and other players during a game of Dominoes, with a knife and a shard of glass.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesIn Hollandspiele’s One-Year Anniversary Sale on military history board games, fifteen games range from $5-15 off. Additionally, for $10 off orders of $200 or more, use coupon code “save10”. For $20 off orders of $300 or more, use coupon code “save20”. For $30 off orders of $400 or more, use coupon code “save30”. And for $50 off orders of $500 or more, use coupon code “save50”.

Gathering Magic is giving away a Magic: The Gathering Arcane Wizardry deck from the Commander 2017 series.

The MCGuiRE Review is giving away Zoo Ball from Osprey Games.

As App of the Week, Tsuro is currently free on iOS. It’s also on-sale for 99¢ on Android.

Three games are 10% off in Victory Point Games’ Are We Hawkin’ Weehawken Sale, including obviously Hero of Weehawken.

Tiny Battle Publishing is holding an Eclipse Sale with games around 15-25% off.

Steve Jackson Games is running special sales and bundles at Warehouse 23 for those who can’t attend Gen Con.

Also on the subject of not attending Gen Con, many fine and sympathetic publishers are participating in a giveaway of games by GenCant (the “unconvention”).

Dog Might Games’ Adventure Cases are 10% off and ship for free to the United States.

Flying Pig Games is selling Old School Tactical for 25% off but that end today.

With HexBug’s Back to School Sale, save 25% on orders of $50 or more.

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The winner of the 2017 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming is Gen Con. Not only is the award totally deserved because Gen Con is a fantastically fun convention, but it’s also not so surprising that it was awarded this particular year, the show’s 50th.

Running this weekend in Indianapolis, Gen Con for the first time completely sold out of badges this year. And I hear that after just one day, so have several of the most anticipated new games.

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Distribution

It’s only been about a year-and-a-half since Asmodee consolidated operations and abandoned Fantasy Flight Games’ exclusive deal with Alliance Game Distributors (in favor of a portfolio approach with ACD, Alliance, GTS, Southern Hobby, and PHD). Effective this month, though, Asmodee North America back to exclusive with Alliance, claiming the arrangement will benefit hobby retailers.

Alliance Game Distributors is building a dedicated team of Asmodee Sales Specialists who will work directly with retailers to help them grow sales by understanding the retailer’s specific needs and providing in-depth product knowledge of ANA products and services. This sales team will also provide greater visibility into stock availability, allocations, and other retailer initiatives, as well as sending retailer feedback to ANA.

At the same time, Asmodee is restructuring its broader sales policies and assigning all specialty retailers (new or existing) to one of three categories. Flagship Accounts are for those with brick-and-mortar stores that provide in-store gaming space. These will have access to the full range of ANA products, early access to new releases, and benefit from organized play support. Toy and Gift Accounts, for those without in-store gaming space, will be limited to the top-selling, broad-appeal titles and restricted to general release dates. General Accounts are for those with different business models, perhaps such as event sales, game cafes, and primarily online businesses. These will be able to participate in organized play and sell the full catalog but not benefit from early access. All three types of account will henceforth be permitted online sales but also must commit to a minimum advertised price (MAP, of no more than a 20 percent discount off of MSRP).

Coiledspring Games has signed on as exclusive U.K. distribution agent for Iello Games’ full product line and for Games Workshop’s Talisman: The Magical Quest board game.

Ares Games of Italy will be distributing the English-language games of Phalanx (UK) worldwide except for Europe. This includes existing products, such as Germania Magna: Border in Flames and Hunger: The Show, as well as the soon to be republished classic, Hannibal & Hamilcar – Rome vs. Carthage (due November 2017).

CMON is no longer handling U.S. distribution for Ankama Products (Krosmaster board games).

This week marks the formal launch of a distribution arrangement that sees Passport Game Studios carrying the product line of Rule & Make of Australia. These include Skyward: The Airborne City, Entropy: Worlds Collide, Smiths of Winterforge, Robots & Rockets, Tavern Fame, and more. Passport also recently expanded its existing distribution partnership with the Polish game company, Granna, to bring the CV series of board games to Canada.

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Retail Games

Elli-Chai’s, the Judaica shop just up the street from me, has repurposed half the store in to a game room. The focus is on providing a family-oriented activity space. Snacks are available for purchase and there’s a game library with a mix of traditional and modern strategy board games.

Wellington, New Zealand has a new venue, the Counter Culture Board Game Cafe and Bar, opened by Emma Smart and Ahmed Bulbulia in the same building they used to live in, before they spent 10 years in the Middle East.

The Cube Cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam is arranged by levels. On the first floor are the drinks and snacks, on the second floor are simpler games, and on the third floor are the hard-core strategy games.

Vianna Bui runs All Aboard Games, a weekly game night program at The Cold Pressery in Mississauga, Ontario. Table service is provided for both food and games.

Calling itself an esports bar, Guild Hall in Burbank, California features comfort food, craft cocktails, screens for watching esports, and board games.

One night a month, the upstairs room at Philadelphia’s American Sardine Bar turns in to Drinks & Dragons, a roleplaying open game night.

Elsewhere is Pennsylvania, the town of Honesdale (east of Scranton) now has a shop to compete with the bigger cities. Tap2Games runs lots of Magic tournaments, as well as D&D events and LAN parties.

Recently opened in the small town of Maryville, Missouri (near the border with Iowa) is the aptly named Maryville Board Game Cafe. Owners Scott and Thuy Copeland see it as a community space for families, as well as students from nearby Northwest Missouri State University.

South of Maryville (about half the way to Kansas City), a new game shop called End Game has opened in a former Record Warehouse location in St. Joseph.

David Davis just moved to Van Buren, Arkansas in 2015. Unsatisfied, though, with the town’s lack of a game store, he’s opened Big Kids at Play with plenty of play space.

Kit and Matt Strehlow sold board games online for a year-and-a-half before deciding to open a brick-and-mortar shop, Menagerie Games, in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin.

Asteroids 2 Zombies opened recently in Marion, Illinois with a fundraising event for Extra Life.

Wonderland in Grande Prairie, Alberta has dropped mass-market toys to make room for a diner in the front of the shop and is soon planning to open a second location in Prince George.

Kokomo, Indiana is back on the game map. Goblin Games, which closed last year, has been replaced by Kingdom Cards and Games.

Cardboard Crowns, a board game bar, is working toward an October opening in Dayton, Ohio.

Sente is a new coffee shop with board games in Wichita, Kansas. The shop opens daily at 7:00 AM, in case you’re one of those morning people.

Tables Board Game Spot in Las Vegas has over a thousand games to play and craft sodas to drink.

Halifax, Nova Scotia now has a third venue, Roll the Dice Board Game Cafe and Restaurant.

The owner of The Comics Place in Bellingham, Washington is opening a second shop, Moon Base Games & Comics, in the Fairhaven area.

With Stone Age being the most checked-out item of anything in circulation, Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, New York is expanding its board game collection.

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Hasbro today announced that the next product to come out of its Magic Digital Next initiative will be Magic: The Gathering Arena. “Designed for Magic fans and beyond,” Arena will feature “AAA graphics” and serve as a platform for growing Magic as an esport, said Chris Cocks, head of Wizards of the Coast.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is currently in alpha testing and will open to public beta testing in the fall (details of that process to be revealed September 7th on the Magic Twitch channel).

This announcement follows recent news of a Magic MMO being developed by Cryptic Studios and a highly anticipated schedule of set releases leading in to the card game’s 25th anniversary next summer. In September, Ixalan will release with vampires, dinosaurs, and pirates. December will see Unstable, a unconventional, silver-bordered, un-set (not legal for standard tournament play), followed by a 25th Anniversary Masters set in March 2018 and Dominaria in April. Core sets are also returning, with one scheduled for next July.

According to WOTC, 2017 has already seen a 27 percent increase in the number of new Magic players and a 150 percent increase in viewers of events on its Twitch channel.

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Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesDriveThruRPG’s Christmas in July Sale, which offers 25% off thousands of items, ends tomorrow.

Doctor Who RPG books from Cubicle 7 are available in a Humble Bundle deal starting at just $1 for the rulebook, First Doctor sourcebook, three adventures, a computer game, and a coupon for 30% off any other purchase from Cubicle 7. Get 17 books at $15.

For 25% off in Precis Intermedia’s Christmas in July Sale, use coupon code “J86MG8Y9GV”.

Multi-Man Publishing is running a Summer Sale, to coincide with the World Boardgaming Championships, with discounts starting at 25%.

Use promo code “FANMILY” for $20 off an adult ticket and $10 off a child’s ticket to Hascon, Hasbro’s in-house fan convention.

Gen Con and USAopoly are giving away the latter company’s Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle game.

From Dr. Finn, get three games (Biblios Dice, Foragers, and Let Them Eat Shrimp) for $45.

Giveaways:

Over at Bundle of Holding, there are two Numenera offerings, one with the core rulebook and early supplements starting at $9.95, the other starting at $14.95 with more recent supplements, including one based on the Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game. There’s also a RIFTS bundle, starting at $17.95 for four books including Ultimate Edition, and the bonus collection with seven more books starting at $27.86.

Venger’s Old School Gaming Blog is running an RPG adventure writing contest with a prize of $500.

Strat-O-Matic is running a t-shirt design contest. The winner will receive a $250 merchandise credit, plus a shirt.

A bundle of all five years of Steve Jackson Games’ The Space Gamer magazine is now available for half off.

Dice from Dog Might Games are on-sale for 20% off.

For one more day, Osprey Publishing’s Campaign, Fortress, and Raid series books are 20% off.

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Hot Jobs

Mattel in Frankfurt, Germany has an opportunity for a Marketing Intern – Brand Activation Games to support the company at Essen Internationale Spieltage, test and proofread prototypes, plan advertising, manage social media, and conduct market research.

Wizards of the Coast is recruiting for a Senior Game Designer to join Magic: The Gathering’s R&D team. Requires 3+ years design experience, passion for MtG, ability to lead teams, and familiarity with other CCGs.

Spin Master is looking for someone crafty, outgoing, and comfortable with social media to fill the role of Sand Castle Maker. The position is a 1 year, $50,000 contract to build “imaginative creations” with Kinetic Compounds. Must make at least one video a week, with children.

CENTRA Technology, a consulting firm in Arlington, Virginia (just outside D.C.), has an opening for a Wargame Analyst. The job of the analyst is to organize and implement simulations and exercises involving such topics as space policy, military technology, cybersecurity, and regional affairs.

Goliath Games in Plano, Texas needs a Graphic Designer to design game packaging and layout instruction manuals and game boards. Five or more years of experience is required.

Andromeda Simulations International, which runs board game based training programs on business, finance, and strategy, needs a Marketing Director. The goal is to “focus on solution design and content development,” such as blogging, social media campaigns, email campaigns, and trade shows and conferences.

Cartamundi has a number of openings at its board game manufacturing plant in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Some are shift-based production positions. Others are for IT and logistics.

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Four-day badges for Gen Con’s 50th anniversary event (August 17-20 in Indianapolis) have sold out. Individual-day passes are still available but are also expected to sell out shortly. Gen Con has already decided not to sell additional day-passes on-site and instead will use the hall registration space to speed up the will-call line.

For those who do have passes and perhaps consider the crowds and chaos a geeky-romantic venue, Gen Con has an official wedding planner and has set aside times (with corresponding event IDs) for vow-renewal ceremonies and actual weddings.

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